Bloomberg News

Gasoline Falls on Concern Over European Debt, Supply Gain

September 28, 2011

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline futures slipped, joining a broad selloff in equities and commodities, on concern that European officials can’t contain region’s debt crisis and as U.S. stockpiles rose to an eight-week high.

Futures fell as the Energy Department reported that stockpiles rose 791,000 barrels to 214.9 million. President Barack Obama said Europeans haven’t dealt with their banking system and their financial system as effectively as they needed to. The S&P GSCI Index of 24 raw materials lost 2.5 percent at 3 p.m. in New York and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1 percent.

“It’s another late-day commodity selloff, another selloff in equities,” said Fred Rigolini, vice president of Paramount Options Inc. in New York. “I don’t think there’s too much confidence in what they’re trying to put together in the Eurozone. Nothing is clear at all.”

Gasoline for October delivery fell 4.48 cents, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $2.6507 a gallon. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have declined 13 percent in September and in the third quarter.

The more-actively traded November contract declined 6.07 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $2.5753 a gallon. November’s discount to October-delivery gasoline widened 1.59 cents to 7.54 cents.

The European Commission is split over a push to impose bigger writedowns on banks holdings of Greek government debt than those agreed at a July 21 summit, a European official said.

European Uncertainty

“There’s uncertainty about Europe and concern that demand has really come to a standstill,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago.

Prices touched $2.7063 earlier after the European Union toughened enforcement of rules to control budget deficits.

Gasoline demand, or deliveries to wholesalers, increased 1.2 percent in the period ended Sept. 23 to an average 8.96 million barrels a day, the most in four weeks. On a four-week average, consumption was 2.4 percent below a year earlier.

ConocoPhillips began idling its refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, citing product imports and lower motor-fuel demand. The plant will shut permanently in six months if Conoco can’t find a buyer.

“There’s probably still a little bit of excess supply,” said Sander Cohan, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “But it will even out. Refiners will start closing units for maintenance and supply and demand are reconciling.”

Heating Oil

October-delivery heating oil fell 5.82 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.8184 a gallon on the exchange. Futures have lost 8.4 percent this month and are down 3.9 percent for the quarter.

Supplies of heating oil and diesel increased 72,000 barrels to 157.7 million.

Demand for industrial, trucking and home-heating fuels declined 1.5 percent last week to 3.82 million barrels a day. On a four-week average, consumption was 1 percent less than a year earlier.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, dropped 1.4 cents to $3.465 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. It was the 18th straight decline and the lowest level since March 2.

--With assistance from Rebecca Christie in Brussels, Roger Runningen in Washington and Bob Willis in Washington and Jonathan Stearns in Strasbourg, France Editors: David Marino, Charlotte Porter

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara J Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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